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L.K.Bennett has been a proud supporter of Women for Women International since March 2015. Over the past 25 years the charity has reached over half a million women survivors of war around the world, helping them to rebuild their lives.

The charity enrols women into their year-long training programme, which equips them with the skills to earn money for their family, regain their confidence and actively participate in their communities.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we caught up with the Executive Director of Women for Women International - UK, Brita Fernandez Schmidt, to talk about the work of Women for Women International and her personal experience sponsoring a woman survivor of war through the charity’s training programme. Over ten years ago, Brita sponsored her first sister from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Her name is Amela.

Over the course of the year, Amela and Brita exchanged several letters of sisterhood and photographs. Amela told Brita how Women for Women International was helping her to earn an income to support her family. Amela built friendships with the other 24 women in her class. They shared their problems and successes with one another and were each other’s support group.

After exchanging letters with Amela, it had always been a dream of Brita’s to meet her in person and last year they met in Bosnia. Brita explains that when she arrived at Amela’s front door, “We hugged – both in tears – before sitting down on her porch to talk, with the help of a translator.’ Brita continues ‘Amela told me that knowing she had an ally who believed in her potential gave her confidence in her own abilities – just as Amela’s resilience became a source of strength for me.”

Brita decided to sponsor a sister because she wanted to help make a difference in someone’s life. She explains, “By contributing £22 a month, it gave Amela the opportunity to take part in the training programme – and to hear about its impact in her own words was such a privilege.”

“However, what I didn’t expect was how my connection with Amela would enrich my own life and change my perspective on the world. She taught me that you can love someone without meeting them, and that we truly have more in common than the things which divide us.”

This International Women's Day, we ask you to send a #MessageToMySister – just a few simple words to express your solidarity and support for women living in some of the world’s most dangerous places.

Send your message today: